Jamie Chagnon: man behind magic of Vassar Athletics

Sophomore Emmett O’Malley and juniors Sophia Tiajoff and Maddy Pieper surprised Jamie Chagnon with a birthday treat. Chagnon continually impacts Vassar athletes with his dedication. / Courtesy of Vassar Athletics

Jamie Chagnon first joined the Vassar Athletics staff in the summer of 2013. Before coming to Vassar, Chagnon acquired several years of experience in the athletic sphere. He earned a degree in sports management from Lynchburg College, going on to work there as Assistant Sports Information Director after graduation.

After working at his alma mater, Chagnon headed to Randolph College where he took on the position of Sports Information Director. While at Randolph, Chagnon was honored as the 2012 Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) Sports Information Director of the Year, earned a position as Conference Secretary in 2011 and served as the Sports Information Director President in 2013.

However, Chagnon’s experience extends the beyond the collegiate level. While balancing responsibilities at Lynchburg, he also worked as a DataCast Stringer for Major League Baseball Advance Media and as a sports stringer for the Las Vegas Review Journal.

As Director of Athletic Communications here at Vassar, Chagnon’s responsibilities are rather extensive. He is in charge of managing the Vassar Athletics webpage and social media platforms. He writes press releases, features on teams and game notes. Chagnon sets up all game events, including the webcasts, and is even in charge of creating the pamphlets handed out at each game. His job encompasses all 27 of Vassar’s intercollegiate teams.

In addition to organizing all of these day-today components of Vassar athletics, Chagnon also serves as a representative on the ECAC All-Star Awards voting committee and as a regional coordinator for Division III District III soccer and softball for the CoSIDA Academic All-American committee. He also plans the annual sports banquet held each Spring.

Chagnon works closely with student workers who help him with his countless responsibilities, all of whom greatly appreciate and respect all that he does. There is a widespread sense that working alongside Chagnon is a fun and informative opportunity that creates a great sense of community.

“Working with Jamie has been about growing as an individual as much as it has been about documenting Vassar’s excellent student athletes,” said sophomore Alyssa More. “Jamie fosters a wonderful work environment in which people are encouraged to try new things and made to feel like they are an integral part of the Sports Info team.”

His student workers also value the personal interest that Chagnon takes in each of them, an effort which helps to create such a close-knit professional team. “Everyday we come into work, he takes time to talk with us: checking in on our lives at school, our experiences in our extracurriculars or anything we might have on our minds,” shared junior Matt Marcelino.

His interest in others goes beyond just his student workers, as he demonstrates a true concern for the well-being of all of Vassar’s student athletes.

“I honestly never met someone who cares so much about the student athletes and their lives outside of the classroom and the fields as well,” said junior Sophia Tiajoloff. “He works to make sure everyone else is taken care of before he even considers himself. I honestly have learned so much about being a genuinely good person working beside him.”

Perhaps above all else, his fellow workers admire Chagnon’s tireless work ethic and dedication. “I have never met someone so passionate about their job,” noted Tiajoloff. “Jamie is incredibly detail-oriented and expects the same precision from all his workers. He wants every sports event to run smoothly and will stay up incredibly late to ensure that the social media and write-ups have been completed.”

“His unrivaled work ethic definitely needs to be recognized,” added Marcelino. “He puts in an absurd amount of time and effort to make our athletics department run as smoothly as it does. On busy game days I’m not surprised if he’ll put in 15+ hour days in pre-game prep and post-game logistics and keep posting on social media through the night.”

The student workers are not the only ones to notice and compliment all that Chagnon does for Vassar Athletics. Vassar’s Director of Athletics and Physical Education Michelle Walsh is also very appreciative of his contributions.

“Jamie does a fantastic job in his role as Director of Athletic Communications,” said Walsh. “He brings a palpable energy and enthusiasm to the department while working tirelessly to promote our 23 varsity and 4 varsity club programs.”

Part of what makes Chagnon such an asset to the staff is his creativity and constant effort to add to the athletic communications department. For instance, he broadened the social-media realm this year by making a Vassar Athletics Snapchat, allowing coaches and athletes to not only see, but contribute firsthand to season updates. “I am particularly appreciative of his creativity with social media; the addition of Snapchat to our offerings this year as a way for student-athletes to tell their own story has been very successful,” said Walsh.

Even former colleagues speak highly of Chagnon, a tribute to the lasting impact he has on those he works with. Tiana Aument, Chagnon’s former assistant, recalled her experience fondly.

“Working with Jamie was an incredible experience. He’s personable, practical and very knowledgable of the sports world. He’s a great leader and provided a wonderful working environment, where I was able to learn and grow on a personal and professional level. I enjoyed working with him because he’s patient, understanding and easy to talk to—I couldn’t ask for a better person to lead the department,” expressed Aument.

Overall, while much of the more behind-the-scenes work that Chagnon does might often go unnoticed, he is clearly making a profound impact on both a broad and personal level. In a strictly professional sense, his expansion of social media and online recaps is helping to make the accomplishments of Vassar Athletics more well known.

“His tireless work to feature and promote sports draws attention from students, parents and alumni, to a point where the Vassar Athletics name has garnered a lot of weight,” noted More.

“He is the silent hero behind Vassar athletics,” shared Marcellino. “He might not be the most recognizable face at games nor the figurehead of the Athletics Department, but he may be the most integral person to our athletics program, and I cannot think of a person who can do this job better than him.”

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